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Method and apparatus for facilitating management of information technology investment
6578004 Method and apparatus for facilitating management of information technology investment
Patent Drawings:Drawing: 6578004-10    Drawing: 6578004-2    Drawing: 6578004-3    Drawing: 6578004-4    Drawing: 6578004-5    Drawing: 6578004-6    Drawing: 6578004-7    Drawing: 6578004-8    Drawing: 6578004-9    
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Inventor: Cimral, et al.
Date Issued: June 10, 2003
Application: 09/560,670
Filed: April 27, 2000
Inventors: Cimral; John (West Linn, OR)
Lawler; Mark S. (Portland, OR)
Ofer; Amir (Jerusalem, IL)
Tzur; Avrami (Palo Alto, CA)
Yokoyama; Doug (San Francisco, CA)
Assignee: Prosight, Ltd. (Jerusalem, IL)
Primary Examiner: Kazimi; Hani M.
Assistant Examiner: Patel; Jagdish
Attorney Or Agent: Stoel Rives LLP
U.S. Class: 705/10; 705/11; 705/7; 705/8; 705/9
Field Of Search: 705/7; 705/8; 705/9; 705/10; 705/11; 717/101; 717/105
International Class: G06Q 10/00
U.S Patent Documents: 5381332; 5446895; 5907490; 5960196
Foreign Patent Documents: 94/20918; 97/07472
Other References: Cooper et al.; Best practices for managing R&D portfolios Research Technology Management; Washington; Jul./Aug. 1998.*.
Karie A Willyerd; Balancing your evaluation act, Training; Minneapolis; Mar. 1997.*.
Asbrand; IT metrics for success, Information Week; Manhasset; Aug. 17, 1998.*.
Anonymous; Metrics make you fast, Machine Design; Cleveland; Sep. 28, 1995.*.
Dobson, Chapter 7-How to Manage Multiple Projects in an Independent Portfolio, Chapter, The Juggler's Guide to managing Multiple projects, 1999.*.
Hartman, Chapter 14--Project Control and Metrics, 2000, Project management Institute, Inc..









Abstract: A method and apparatus to facilitate management of IT investment includes storing data associated with performance metrics of a number of information technology (IT) projects, and generating a number of "scorecards" for a number of IT portfolios, using the stored data, with each scorecard indicating status of the IT projects of an IT portfolio relative to performance metrics, each IT portfolio having a subset of the IT projects. The method/apparatus further includes generating a number of "dashboards" for the IT projects, using also the stored data, with each dashboard graphically illustrating one or more aspects of at least one IT project, and facilitating navigation from a scorecard to a corresponding one of the dashboards for a selected IT project by a user of the scorecard through selection of a representation of the IT project.
Claim: What is claimed is:

1. A method comprising: storing data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects; generating a plurality of scorecards for aplurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, wherein said generating of scorecards comprises generating a plurality of rows and columns for each of said scorecards, and populating measures of the performance metrics of each IT project in columnsof a row, and wherein said generating of scorecards further comprises generating, for one or more of the scorecards, a cross-project composite measure for at least one of the performance metrics, and populating the generated cross-project compositemeasure in the corresponding column of a cross-project summary row, with each scorecard showing where IT projects of an IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics, each IT portfolio having a subset of said IT projects; generating one or moreinvestment maps of said IT portfolios, using also said stored data, showing where said IT portfolios stand on a plurality of performance metrics; and facilitating navigation from a selected one of said one or more investment maps to a corresponding oneof said scorecards for a selected IT portfolio by a user of the selected investment map through selection of a representation of the IT portfolio.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein said populating of the generated cross-project composite measure comprises populating a selected one of a composite metric value and a graphical composite indicator of the performance metric in the correspondingcolumn of a cross-project summary row.

3. A method comprising: storing data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects; generating a plurality of scorecards for a plurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, with each scorecardshowing where IT projects of an IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics, each IT portfolio having a subset of said IT projects; generating one or more investment maps of said IT portfolios, using also said stored data, wherein said generating ofone or more investment maps comprises generating a plurality of graphical representations for the IT portfolios of each investment map, and placing the graphical representations in the investment map in accordance with their IT portfolios' technologytype and risk, said investment maps showing where said IT portfolios stand on a plurality of performance metrics; and facilitating navigation from a selected one of said one or more investment maps to a corresponding one of said scorecards for aselected IT portfolio by a user of the selected investment map through selection of a representation of the IT portfolio.

4. A method comprising: storing data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects; generating a plurality of scorecards for a plurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, with each scorecardshowing where IT projects of an IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics, each IT portfolio having a subset of said IT projects; generating one or more investment maps of said IT portfolios, using also said stored data, wherein said generating ofone or more investment maps comprises generating a plurality of graphical representations for the IT portfolios of each investment map with at least a selected one of the size of each of the graphical representations representing the investment size ofthe IT portfolio, and the color of each of the graphical representations representing the soundness of the IT portfolio, each investment map showing where said IT portfolios stand on a plurality of performance metrics; and facilitating navigation from aselected one of said one or more investment maps to a corresponding one of said scorecards for a selected IT portfolio by a user of the selected investment map through selection of a representation of the IT portfolio.

5. A method comprising: storing data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects; generating a plurality of scorecards for a plurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, with each scorecardshowing where IT projects of an IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics, each IT portfolio having a subset of said IT projects; generating one or more investment maps of said IT portfolios, using also said stored data, showing where said ITportfolios stand on a plurality of performance metrics; facilitating navigation from a selected one of said one or more investment maps to a corresponding one of said scorecards for a selected IT portfolio by a user of the selected investment mapthrough selection of a representation of the IT portfolio; generating a plurality of dashboards for said IT projects, using also said stored data, with each dashboard graphically illustrating one or more aspects of at least one IT project; andfacilitating navigation from a scorecard to a corresponding one of said dashboards for a selected IT project by a user of the scorecard through selection of a representation of said IT project.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein each generation of a dashboard for an IT project comprises generating a plurality of graphs for a plurality of aspects of the IT project, and placing and tiling said graphs.

7. A method comprising: storing data associated with performance metrics for a plurality of information technology (IT) projects; generating a plurality of dashboards for said IT projects, using said stored data, with each dashboard graphicallyillustrating one or more aspects of at least one IT project; generating a scorecard for an IT portfolio, using also said stored data, with the scorecard showing where IT projects of the IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics; and facilitatingnavigation from said scorecard to a corresponding one of said dashboards for a selected IT project by a user of the scorecard through selection of a representation of said IT project.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein said storing comprises storing data associated with performance metrics that include selected ones of budget metrics, staffing metrics, project size and quality metrics, and progress metrics.

9. The method of claim 7, wherein said generating of scorecards comprises generating a plurality of rows and columns for each of said scorecards, and populating measures of the performance metrics of each IT project in columns of a row.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein said generating of scorecards further comprises generating, for one or more of the scorecards, a cross-project composite measure for at least one of the performance metrics, and populating the generatedcross-project composite measure in the corresponding column of a cross-project summary row.

11. A method comprising: storing data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects; and generating a plurality of scorecards for a plurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, with eachscorecard showing where IT projects of an IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics, each IT portfolio having a subset of said IT projects, each scorecard having a plurality of rows and columns with measures of the performance metrics of a projectpopulating corresponding columns of a row, and at least one column having a cross project composite measure of the performance metric populated in the column of a cross project summary row.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein said measures and cross project measures of the performance metrics comprise selected ones of metric values and graphical indicators.

13. A method comprising: storing data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects; and generating an investment map of a plurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, showing at least wheresaid IT portfolios stand on technology type, risk, investment size and soundness, with placement of each graphical representation of an IT project denoting the technology type and risk of the IT portfolio, a first visual attribute of the graphicalrepresentation denoting an amount of investment in the IT portfolio, and a second visual attribute of the graphical representation denoting soundness of the IT portfolio.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein said first and second visual attributes of the graphical representation comprise size and color of the graphical representation.

15. An apparatus comprising: a storage medium having stored therein data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects, first programming instructions to generate a plurality of scorecards for aplurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, and generate a plurality of rows and columns for each of said scorecards, and populate measures of the performance metrics of each IT project in columns of a row, and generate, for one or more of thescorecards, a cross-project composite measure for at least one of the performance metrics, and populate the generated cross-project composite measure in the corresponding column of a cross-project summary row, with each scorecard showing where ITprojects of an IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics, each IT portfolio having a subset of said IT projects, second programming instructions to generate one or more investment maps of said IT portfolios, using also said stored data, showingwhere said IT portfolios stand on a plurality of performance metrics, third programming instructions to facilitate navigation from a selected one of said investment maps to a corresponding one of said scorecards for a selected IT portfolio by a user ofthe investment map through selection of a representation of the IT portfolio; and at least one processor coupled to the storage medium to execute said first, second and third programming instructions.

16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein said first programming instructions populate a selected one of a composite metric value and a graphical composite indicator of the performance metric in the corresponding column of a cross-project summaryrow.

17. An apparatus comprising: a storage medium having stored therein data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects, first programming instructions to generate a plurality of scorecards for aplurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, with each scorecard showing where IT projects of an IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics, each IT portfolio having a subset of said IT projects, second programming instructions to generate oneor more investment maps of said IT portfolios, using also said stored data, and generate a plurality of graphical representations for the IT portfolios and placing the graphical representations in said investment map in accordance with their ITportfolios' technology type and risk, each investment map showing where said IT portfolios stand on a plurality of performance metrics, third programming instructions to facilitate navigation from a selected one of said investment maps to a correspondingone of said scorecards for a selected IT portfolio by a user of the investment map through selection of a representation of the IT portfolio; and at least one processor coupled to the storage medium to execute said first, second and third programminginstructions.

18. An apparatus comprising: a storage medium having stored therein data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects, first programming instructions to generate a plurality of scorecards for aplurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, with each scorecard showing where IT projects of an IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics, each IT portfolio having a subset of said IT projects, second programming instructions to generate oneor more investment maps of said IT portfolios, using also said stored data, and generate a plurality of graphical representations for the IT portfolios with at least a selected one of the size of each of the graphical representations representing theinvestment size of the IT portfolio, and the color of each of the graphical representations representing the soundness of the IT portfolio, each investment map showing where said IT portfolios stand on a plurality of performance metrics, thirdprogramming instructions to facilitate navigation from a selected one of said investment maps to a corresponding one of said scorecards for a selected IT portfolio by a user of the investment map through selection of a representation of the IT portfolio; and at least one processor coupled to the storage medium to execute said first, second and third programming instructions.

19. An apparatus comprising: a storage medium having stored therein data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects, first programming instructions to generate a plurality of scorecards for aplurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, with each scorecard showing where IT projects of an IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics, each IT portfolio having a subset of said IT projects, second programming instructions to generate oneor more investment maps of said IT portfolios, using also said stored data, showing where said IT portfolios stand on a plurality of performance metrics, third programming instructions to facilitate navigation from a selected one of said investment mapsto a corresponding one of said scorecards for a selected IT portfolio by a user of the investment map through selection of a representation of the IT portfolio; fourth programming instructions to generate a plurality of dashboards for said IT projects,using also said stored data, with each dashboard graphically illustrating one or more aspects of at least one IT project, and fifth programming instructions to facilitate navigation from a scorecard to a corresponding one of said dashboards for aselected IT project by a user of the scorecard through selection of a representation of said IT project; and at least one processor coupled to the storage medium to execute said first, second, third, fourth, and fifth programming instructions.

20. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein said fourth programming instructions generate a plurality of graphs for a plurality of aspects of the IT project, and place and tile said graphs.

21. An apparatus comprising: one or more storage medium having stored therein data associated with performance metrics for a plurality of information technology (IT) projects, first programming instructions to generate a plurality of dashboardsfor said IT projects, using said stored data, with each dashboard graphically illustrating one or more aspects of at least one IT project, second programming instructions to generate a scorecard for an IT portfolio, using also said stored data, with thescorecard showing where IT projects of the IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics, and third programming instructions to facilitate navigation from said scorecard to a corresponding one of said dashboards for a selected IT project by a user ofthe scorecard through selection of a representation of said IT project; and at least one processor coupled to the one or more storage medium to execute the first, second and third programming instructions.

22. The apparatus of claim 21, wherein said data associated with performance metrics include selected ones of budget metrics, staffing metrics, project size and quality metrics, and progress metrics.

23. The apparatus of claim 21, wherein said second programming instructions generate a plurality of rows and columns for each of said scorecards, and populate measures of the performance metrics of each IT project in columns of a row.

24. The apparatus of claim 23, wherein said second programming instructions generate, for one or more of the scorecards, a cross-project composite measure for at least one of the performance metrics, and populate the generated cross-projectcomposite measure in the corresponding column of a cross-project summary row.

25. An apparatus comprising: one or more storage medium having stored therein data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects, and programming instructions to generate a plurality of scorecards fora plurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, with each scorecard showing where IT projects of an IT portfolio stand on said performance metrics, each IT portfolio having a subset of said IT projects, each scorecard having a plurality of rows andcolumns with measures of the performance metrics of a project populating corresponding columns of a row, and at least one column having a cross project composite measure of the performance metric populated in the column of a cross project summary row; and at least one processor coupled to the at least one storage medium to execute the programming instructions.

26. The apparatus of claim 25, wherein said measures and cross project measures of the performance metrics comprise selected ones of metric values and graphical indicators.

27. An apparatus comprising: one or more storage medium having stored therein data associated with performance metrics of a plurality of information technology (IT) projects, and programming instructions to generate an investment map of aplurality of IT portfolios, using said stored data, showing at least where said IT portfolios stand on technology type, risk, investment size and soundness, with placement of each graphical representation of an IT project denoting the technology type andrisk of the IT portfolio, a first visual attribute of the graphical representation denoting an amount of investment in the IT portfolio, and a second visual attribute of the graphical representation denoting soundness of the IT portfolio; and at leastone processor coupled to the at least one storage medium to execute said programming instructions.

28. The apparatus of claim 27, wherein said first and second visual attributes of the graphical representation comprise size and color of the graphical representation.
Description: BACKGROUND OFTHE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of information management. More specifically, the present invention relates to management of Information Technology (IT) investments.

2. Background Information

Ever since the invention of computer, enterprises, business or otherwise, have used computers to improve the productivity of their workers and efficiency of their business operations. In the beginning, enterprises tended to focus in a handful ofhigh priority operation areas, such as financial management, general ledger, payroll and so forth. While these projects were often important, and the investment were not insignificant, but relatively speaking, the investment often represented only asmall portion of the enterprises' investment in infrastructure or research and development, and the overall success of the enterprises were not perceived to be critically dependent on these projects. Accordingly, except perhaps for periodic briefing formanagement of the organizational units that were directly impacted, senior management were seldom involved, and management of these projects were typically relegated to data processing professionals, and managed in an ad hoc manner.

Over time, continuing advances in computer and other related technology, such as networking and telecommunication, have made it economically as well as technically feasible to make available computing power to virtually every single worker of anenterprise, and support virtually every aspect of an enterprise's operations. As a result, the number as well as the type of applications have broaden, from individual worker productivity, such as word processing, email, and the like, to missioncritical operations, such as reservation and flight scheduling in the case of the airline industry. The typical size and scope of many of these applications have also increased. In fact, not only the success of increasing number of conventionalbusiness enterprises are increasingly dependent on the success of their IT projects, we have new business enterprises, such as Internet access providers, Internet portals, e-Commerce companies, emerging that are made possible by information technology,which otherwise would not have existed.

With the increase in significance as well as in amount of investment, increasingly senior management of these enterprises are actively involved in the management of their enterprises' investment in IT. Unfortunately, while the significance andthe investment in IT have skyrocketed in recent years, little advances have been made in the area of managing IT. Project managers, mid-level managers as well as senior executives continue to rely on a hodgepodge of non-integrated or poorly integratedindividual software applications such as spreadsheet and project management applications.

Thus, increasingly there are interest and desire in having automated tools to assist management of all levels to manage these ever more critical IT projects.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A method and apparatus to facilitate management of IT investments includes, in one embodiment, storing data associated with performance metrics of a number of information technology (IT) projects, generating a number of scorecards for a number ofIT portfolios, using the stored data, with each scorecard showing where IT projects of an IT portfolio stand on the performance metrics, and each IT portfolio having a subset of the IT projects. The method/apparatus further includes generating one ormore investment maps of the IT portfolios, using also the stored data, with each investment map showing at least where a subset of the IT portfolios stand on a number of performance metrics. The method/apparatus further includes facilitating navigationfrom an investment map to a corresponding one of the scorecards for a selected IT portfolio by a user of the investment map through selection of a representation of the IT portfolio.

In another embodiment, the method/apparatus further includes generating a number of dashboards for the IT projects, using also the stored data, with each dashboard graphically illustrating one or more aspects of at least one IT project. Themethod/apparatus further includes facilitating navigation from a scorecard to a corresponding one of the dashboards for a selected IT project by a user of the scorecard through selection of a representation of the IT project.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OFDRAWINGS

The present invention will be described by way of exemplary embodiments, but not limitations, illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which like references denote similar elements, and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates an overview of the present invention, in accordance with one embodiment;

FIG. 2 illustrates an organization of project data of FIG. 1, in accordance with one embodiment;

FIGS. 3a-3c illustrate the dashboard, the scorecard and the investment map of FIG. 1, in accordance with one embodiment each;

FIGS. 4a-4c illustrate the relevant operational flows of the dashboard generator/viewer, the scorecard generator/viewer, and the investment map generator/viewer of FIG. 1, in accordance with one embodiment each;

FIGS. 5a-5c illustrate additional relevant operational flows of the investment map generator/viewer and the scorecard generator/viewer of FIG. 1, in accordance with one embodiment each;

FIG. 6 illustrates a networking environment suitable for practicing the facilitation of IT management of the present invention, in accordance with one embodiment; and

FIG. 7 illustrates a computer system suitable for use as an IT executive, a portfolio manager or a project manager's computing device or a server of FIG. 6, in accordance with one embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, various aspects of the present invention will be described. However, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced with only some or all aspects of the presentinvention. For purposes of explanation, specific numbers, materials and configurations are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will also be apparent to one skilled in the art that the presentinvention may be practiced without the specific details. In other instances, well known features are omitted or simplified in order not to obscure the present invention.

Parts of the description will be presented in terms of operations performed by a computer system, using terms such as data, flags, bits, values, characters, strings, numbers and the like, consistent with the manner commonly employed by thoseskilled in the art to convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. As well understood by those skilled in the art, these quantities take the form of electrical, magnetic, or optical signals capable of being stored, transferred,combined, and otherwise manipulated through mechanical and electrical components of the computer system; and the term computer system include general purpose as well as special purpose data processing machines, systems, and the like, that are standalone,adjunct or embedded.

Various operations will be described as multiple discrete steps in turn, in a manner that is most helpful in understanding the present invention, however, the order of description should not be construed as to imply that these operations arenecessarily order dependent. In particular, these operations need not be performed in the order of presentation.

Referring now FIG. 1, wherein a block diagram illustrating the integrated facilitation of IT management of the present invention, in accordance with one embodiment, is shown. As illustrated, in accordance with the present invention, dataassociated with IT projects 102 are collected and stored. More particularly, as will described in more detail below, project data 102 are associated with a number of performance metrics of IT projects. Also illustrated, in accordance with the presentinvention, "integrated" dashboard generator/viewer 112, scorecard generator/viewer 114 and investment map generator/viewer 116 are provided to generate IT project dashboards 122, IT portfolio scorecards 124 and IT investment mapsmap 126 respectively. ITproject dashboards 122 are designed to assist IT project managers to manage their respective projects, whereas IT portfolio scorecards 124 are designed to assist "mid-level" IT portfolio mangers to manage their respective IT portfolios. IT investmentmaps 126 in turn are designed to assist an IT executive (or its business partners) to manage the entire IT investment of his/her enterprise. More particularly, project dashboards 122, portfolio scoreboards 124 and investment maps 126 are logicallyintegrated (as denoted by arrows 132 and 134) to facilitate more in-depth understanding of issues surfaced by investment maps 126 and by scorecards 124.

FIG. 2 illustrates an organization of project data 102 in accordance with one embodiment. As alluded to earlier, in accordance with the present invention, project data 102 are associated with performance metrics designed to show where ITprojects stand. In one embodiment, the performance metrics are key performance categories (KPC). In one embodiment, these performance metrics (or KPC) include budget metrics, staffing metrics, project size and quality metrics, and progress metrics. Inone embodiment, the budget metrics include expense to budget ratios for a number of expense categories, such as personnel expenses, overhead expenses and the like. In another embodiment, the staffing metrics include current staffing level to staffingrequirement ratios for a number of staffing categories, such as senior analysts, software engineers with web design skills, software engineers with C++ programming skills, engineers with networking skills and the like. In yet another embodiment, projectsize and quality metrics include metrics measuring the quantity of code and documentation being developed, the amount of defects encountered or removed from these code and documentation. In yet another embodiment, the progress metrics includes metricsmeasuring a number of task completion to schedule milestone indicators for a number of project phases, e.g. feasibility phase, design phase, unit test phase, functional test phase and system test phase. In alternate embodiments, data may also be storedfor other performance metrics (or KPC) in addition to or in lieu of some or all of the above enumerated example metrics/categories.

For the illustrated embodiment, project data 102 are stored in tables 202 of a relational database, with each table storing a subset of the data (in columns) for a subset of the projects (in rows). The data may be organized into the varioustables in any one of a number of application dependent manner, taking into consideration the number projects, the number of performance metrics as well as other factors. In alternate embodiments, project data 102 may also be stored employing other dataorganization techniques, including but limited to flat files, hierarchical databases and the like. In one embodiment, historic data are also stored and maintained for some or all of the metrics for which data are being stored. In one embodiment, userannotations for all or selected ones of the metrics are also stored.

In one embodiment, the data to be stored, and whether historical and/or annotations are to be stored, are user defined. The user definition may be provided through any one of a number of "input dialogues" known in the art.

FIGS. 3a-3c illustrate a dashboard, a scorecard, and an investment map of FIG. 1 in further detail, in accordance with one embodiment each. As described earlier, dashboard 122 is designed to assist a project manager in managing a project. Asshown in FIG. 3a, for the illustrated embodiment, dashboard 122 includes a number of graphical depictions 302a-302d for a number of aspects of a project (as indicated by one or more of the earlier described performance metrics). The graphical depictions302a-302d may include the illustrated non-linear graph 302a, histogram 302b, pie chart 302c, linear graphs 302d, as well as other depictions. The various graphical depictions 302a-302d are "tiled" in the illustrated presentation. In other embodiments,the graphical depictions 302a-302d are arranged in a cascaded overlapping manner instead. Further, a dashboard 122 may present graphical depictions for multiple projects instead.

In a preferred one of the embodiments, a project manager may select the subject matters (i.e. the projects and their performance metrics/categories) to be graphically depicted, the graphical depictions to be employed, as well as the manner inwhich the graphical depictions are to be presented. These selections may be specified by the project manager through any one of a number of "selection dialogues" known in the art.

As described earlier, scorecard 124 is designed to assist a portfolio manager in managing the portfolio of IT projects he/she is responsible for. As shown in FIG. 3b, for the illustrated embodiment, each scorecard 124 is a tabular presentationof where the projects of a portfolio stand on various performance indicators, with measurements of the various performance indicators of the projects occupying columns 306 of corresponding rows 304. Each performance indicator may correspond to aperformance metric or may be an aggregate, weighted or otherwise, of a number of performance metrics (which may or may not be individually depicted in the subject scorecard). Additionally, in lieu of conventional numerical and/or textual presentation,the measurements may be advantageously depicted in symbols 308 (in color or otherwise) to enable the current standing of a performance indicator of a project to be easily highlighted for a portfolio manager. Furthermore, for selected ones of theperformance indicators, corresponding cross project composite measures are automatically computed and presented in columns of a cross project row (the top row, for the illustrated embodiment). Likewise, the cross project composite measures may be"aggregated" in a weighted or non-weighted manner, as well as presented in symbolic fashion (color or otherwise). Similarly, the contributing projects for the computation of the cross project composite measures may or may not be part of the subjectscorecard. Most importantly, the presented projects are logically linked to their dashboards 122, to facilitate a portfolio manager to drill down or focus on a project if necessary.

In one embodiment, scorecards 124 may be used to present the status of portfolios of portfolios (as opposed to projects) instead. But, for ease of understanding, the remaining description will primarily focus on scorecards 124 being used topresent the status of portfolios of projects.

Similar to dashboard 122, in a preferred one of the embodiments, a portfolio manager may select the projects of a portfolio and the performance indicators of the projects to be included, the manner the performance indicators are to be"aggregated", whether any cross project composite measures are to be computed, the manner in which the cross project composite measures are to be computed, as well as the manner in which the measurements are to be presented. These selections may too bespecified by the portfolio manager through any one of a number of "selection dialogues" known in the art.

As also described earlier, investment maps 126 are designed to assist an IT executive in managing IT investments of his/her enterprise. As shown in FIG. 3c, for the illustrated embodiment, an investment map 126 graphically depicts a selectedsubset of the IT portfolios in accordance with risk, technology type, their size and their soundness. Each IT portfolio is graphically represented by a "bubble". In alternate embodiments, other graphical representations may be employed instead. Thesize and soundness of a portfolio are depicted by the size and color of the "bubble". The risk and technology type of the portfolio determines the placement of the "bubble", e.g. with risk determining the y-axis value and the technology type determiningthe x-axis value. In alternate embodiments, the technology type, risk, size and soundness may be conveyed through other visual attributes instead. Again, most importantly, the portfolios are logically linked to their scorecards 124 to facilitate an ITexecutive to drill down or focus on a portfolio if necessary.

In one embodiment, the technology type of each portfolio is characterized by the portfolio manager as being evolutionary in nature, or instrumental in establishing a new computing platform or technologically transforming in nature. In oneembodiment, the characterization may be accomplished through quantified indices (which in turn are employed to generate the normalized x-coordinates). Similarly, the risk of each-portfolio is characterized by the portfolio manager as being high, mediumor low. In one embodiment, the characterization may also be accomplished through quantified indices (which in turn are employed to generate the normalized y-coordinates). In like manner, a portfolio manager also specifies how the size of a portfolio isto be measured, e.g. in terms of total dollars budgeted, total staffing, total number of lines of code to be written and so forth, as well as how "soundness" of a portfolio is to be measured, e.g. by the number of critical performance indicators in an"alert" state, or by the number of projects having at least one critical performance indicators in the "alert" state, or both. These specifications may too be made by the portfolio managers through any one of a number of "selection dialogues" known inthe art.

In alternate embodiments, investment maps 126 may depict the status of a selection of IT portoflios relative to other performance metrics/categories (as opposed to risk, technology type etc.). Again, the performance metrics/categories to bereferenced in the depiction of the status of IT portfolios may be user specified, through any one of a number of known "specification dialogues" known in the art.

FIGS. 4a-4c illustrate the relevant generation operational flows of the dashboard generator/viewer, the scorecard generator/viewer, and investment map generator/viewer of FIG. 1, in accordance with one embodiment each. As illustrated by FIG. 4a,for dashboard generator/viewer 112, upon start of the dashboard generation process for a project, at 402, dashboard generator/viewer 122 selects one of the specified graphs for generation. At 404, dashboard generator/viewer 122 generates the selectedgraph for the specified performance metrics. The manner of generation is graph dependent, i.e. whether it is a histogram or a pie chart and so forth, to be generated. The generation of these types of graphs are known in the art, accordingly will not befurther described. At 406, upon generation of the selected graph, dashboard generator/viewer 122 determines if additional graphs are to be generated. If so, dashboard generator/viewer 122 returns to 402, otherwise, dashboard generator/viewer 122continues at 408, where it arranges the graphs for presentation. For the earlier described embodiment, dashboard generator/viewer 122 places and tiles the generated graphs.

As illustrated by FIG. 4b, for scorecard generator/viewer 114, upon start of the scorecard generation process for a portfolio, at 412, scorecard generator/viewer 124 selects one of the project of the portfolio for generation. At 414, scorecardgenerator/viewer 124 selects one of the specified performance indicators. At 416, scorecard generator/viewer 124 determines the measurement value of the selected performance indicator for the selected project. The manner of determination is performanceindicator dependent. For some performance indicators, the determination may simply involve determining whether a performance metric is higher or lower than a threshold value, for others, the determination may involve any one of a number of intermediatecomputations such as additions, subtractions, multiplications or divisions known in the art. At 418, upon determining the measurement value of a performance indicator for a project, scorecard generator/viewer 124 determines if measurement values foradditional performance indicators are to be determined. If so, scorecard generator/viewer 124 returns to 414, otherwise, scorecard generator/viewer 124 continues at 420. At 420, scorecard generator/viewer 124 determines if the portfolio has additionalprojects to be processed. If so, scorecard generator/viewer 124 returns to 412, otherwise, scorecard generator/viewer 124 continues at 422. At 422, scorecard generator/viewer 124 determines the cross project measure values for applicable ones of theperformance indicators. Finally, at 424, scorecard generator/viewer 124 displays the generated scorecard.

As illustrated by FIG. 4c, for investment map generator/viewer 114, upon start of the map generation process, at 432, map generator/viewer 126 selects one of the portfolios for generation. At 434, map generator/viewer 126 selects a project ofthe selected portfolio. At 436, map generator/viewer 126 "aggregates" the performance metric values for the selected project. The manner of "aggregation" is performance metrics dependent. For some performance metrics, the "aggregation" may simplyinvolve summation of performance metric values, for others, the "aggregation" may involve a number of intermediate transformation or normalization operations known in the art. At 438, upon aggregating the performance metrics for a project, mapgenerator/viewer 126 determines if the selected portfolio has more projects to be processed. If so, map generator/viewer 126 returns to 434, otherwise, map generator/viewer 126 continues at 440. At 440, map generator/viewer 126 determines color of thebubble representation, to appropriately represent the soundness of the portfolio. Additionally, map generator/viewer 126 determines the size of the bubble representation, to appropriately represent the total investment of the portfolio, as well as theproper placement of the bubble representation, to appropriately depict the technology type and risk associated with the portfolio. At 442, map generator/viewer 126 determines if additional portfolios are to be processed. If so, map generator/viewer 126returns to 432, otherwise map generator/viewer 126 continues at 444, and displays the generated map.

FIGS. 5a-5c illustrate the relevant viewing operational flows of the scorecard generator/viewer and investment map generator/viewer of FIG. 1, in accordance with one embodiment each. As illustrated by FIG. 5a, for map generator/viewer 116, uponbeing notified of the selection of a portfolio by a user (e.g. by way of clicking on the bubble representation using a cursor control device such as a mouse), map generator/viewer 116 determines the identity of the selected portfolio, 502. Upondetermining the identity of the selected portfolio, at 504, map generator/viewer 116 invokes scorecard generator/viewer 114 to display the scorecard for the selected portfolio, thereby facilitating an IT executive in drilling down and focusing on aportfolio of interest.

As illustrated by FIG. 5b, for scorecard generator/viewer 114, upon being notified of the selection of a project by a user (e.g. by way of clicking on the row of a project using a cursor control device such as a mouse), scorecard generator/viewer114 determines the identity of the selected project, 512. Upon determining the identity of the selected project, at 514, scorecard generator/viewer 114 invokes dashboard generator/viewer 112 to display the dashboard for the selected project, therebyfacilitating an IT executive/a portfolio manager in drilling down and focusing on a project of interest.

FIG. 6 illustrates a network environment suitable for practicing the present invention, in accordance with one embodiment. As illustrated, network environment 600 includes data server 602, IT executive computing device 604, portfolio managercomputing devices 606, and project manager computing devices 608. Server 602 and computing devices 604-608 are coupled to each other via networking fabric 610. Further, server 602 and computing devices 604-608 are incorporated with the earlierdescribed teachings of the present invention. More particularly, server 602 is employed to store project data 102, and provided with dashboard, scorecard and investment map generator/viewer 112-116 to facilitate generation and viewing of the earlierdescribed dashboards, scorecards and investment map for an enterprise, by IT executives, portfolio managers, and project managers as described earlier, using computing devices 604-608.

Server 602 is intended to represent one or more servers coupled to each other through a local or a wide area network. In one embodiment, dashboard, scorecard and investment map generator/viewer 112-116 may execute exclusively on server 602 withthe results transmitted to display on computing devices 604-608 through networking fabric 610. In other embodiments, part or all of dashboard, scorecard and investment map generator/viewer 112-116 may be executed on computing devices 604-608 instead. Further, there may be more than one executive computing device 604, as well as having computing devices that serve as a computing device with more than one role, e.g. for an IT executive as well as a portfolio manager or a project manager. Networkingfabric 610 is intended to represent a wide range of interconnected private and public networks, each constituted with networking equipment such as gateways, switches, routers and the like, such as the Internet.

FIG. 7 illustrates a computer system suitable for use as either server 602 or computing devices 604-608 of FIG. 6 in accordance with one embodiment. As shown, computer system 700 includes one or more processors 702 (typically depending onwhether it is used as server 602 or one of computing devices 604-608) and system memory 704. Additionally, computer system 700 includes mass storage devices 706 (such as diskette, hard drive, CDROM and so forth), input/output devices 708 (such askeyboard, cursor control and so forth) and communication interfaces 710 (such as network interface cards, modems and so forth). The elements are coupled to each other via system bus 712, which represents one or more buses. In the case of multiplebuses, they are bridged by one or more bus bridges (not shown). Each of these elements perform its conventional functions known in the art. In particular, system memory 704 and mass storage 706 are employed to store a working copy and a permanent copyof the programming instructions implementing the teachings of the present invention. The permanent copy of the programming instructions may be loaded into mass storage 706 in the factory, or in the field, as described earlier, through a distributionmedium (not shown) or through communication interface 710 (from a distribution server (not shown). The constitution of these elements 702-712 are known, and accordingly will not be further described.

Thus, a novel method and apparatus for facilitating management of IT investment has been described. While the present invention has been described in terms of the above illustrated embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that theinvention is not limited to the embodiments described. The present invention can be practiced with modification and alteration within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For example, in addition to the above described dashboard, scorecard andinvestment map, the present invention may also be practiced with a "management notebook" encapsulating the various project data for a project manager, and navigationally coupling e.g. the dashboards to these "management notebooks". The description isthus to be regarded as illustrative instead of restrictive on the present invention.

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